“So here today I present to you an Unread Books Challenge. Give me the list or take a picture of all the books you have stacked on your bedside table, hidden under the bed or standing in your shelf – the books you have not read, but keep meaning to. The books that begin to weigh on your mind. The books that make you cover your ears in conversation and say, ‘No! Don’t give me another book to read! I can’t finish the ones I have!’ “
Most books, I read as soon as I acquire. I’ve always been that way, diving into a new book before we even got home from the library or bookstore. Now, I tear open my mail to see what came, and start it as soon as I can. So most of my unread books, the ones that bother me, are the books I feel I ought to read and started, then put down for whatever reason–and haven’t yet picked back up. Those are the books that fill me with guilt and despair. Those are the ones I think about when I pick up a fresh book that looks so enticing.
Mine are scattered all over the house, on the coffeetable, on shelves, in my schoolbags, and so on–wherever I go, I trip over a book I ought to be reading–so I won’t take a picture, but here are a few that have been haunting me:
Waverley by Sir Walter Scott (I started it, then put it down and keep forgetting to pick it up)
Therese Racquin by Emile Zola (same as above)
The Perfect Prince by Ann Wroe (ditto!)
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James (I got through What Maisie Knew and The Wings of the Dove with no trouble, but this one …)
The Virgin in the Garden by AS Byatt (I enjoyed Possession, but this one does nothing for me a hundred pages in)
The Art of Eating by MFK Fisher (I read two parts, then put it down)
Middlemarch by George Eliot (I keep meaning to pick it up)
Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope (I read the first chapter two years ago)
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (slogged through fifty pages before abandoning it)
The Confusion by Neal Stephenson (I am about halfway through, but I misplaced it for a time, and haven’t bothered to pick it back up now that it’s found)
Tom Jones by Samuel Fielding (I have two copies of this! Two!)
Will I ever finish them? Oh, I do hope so. After all, I’m reading Villette right now, and that was on The List for ages!